Fasting before plastic surgery

Fasting before plastic surgery

05th Jun 2017

Before undergoing any of the plastic surgery procedures available today, surgeons will require you to fast for a certain amount of hours before the surgery. This is especially true when the surgical procedure in question will be performed under general anesthesia.

Usually, surgeons will instruct their patients not to eat or drink anything from midnight of the day before their surgery until the actual procedure. Surgeons will typically require their patients to fast for at least eight hours prior to their surgery. However, some surgeons may approve some light meals. Fasting is a precautionary measure that is observed by most surgeons.

The main reason behind fasting is due to the body’s reaction to anesthesia. When patients are administered anesthesia, it’s possible for the food in their stomach to enter the lungs or the respiratory tract and either asphyxiate or cause an infection. This happens because general anesthesia causes the body to sleep, disabling its ability to swallow. As the muscles relax in your digestive tract and airway, the food and acid are free to move towards the lungs, thereby putting you at risk for pulmonary aspiration. For this reason, it is best to follow your doctor’s advice.

Some experts, however, do not approve of a long fast because it can cause discomfort for the patient. Fasting can result in dizziness, dehydration, nausea, headaches and discomfort. It is because of this that surgeons generally allow patients to drink clear liquids up to two hours before surgery. Some surgeons also allow very light meals for up to 6 hours before the surgery and heavy meals for up to 8 hours before the surgery.

Research has shown that the stomach clears faster than previously expected. They discovered that the stomach empties after 5-6 hours, but the required time of fasting can go beyond that just to be safe and secure. Every surgeon possesses their own preference or recommendation with regard to the amount of time spent fasting. It is important that patients follow their surgeon’s instructions to ensure their safety. Fasting is done not because surgeons want their patients to starve and dehydrate, but because the surgeon is simply considering the patient’s safety.

Healthy patients undergo fasting without any difficulty. Being healthy is a requirement of having plastic surgery and should be no cause for concern. In case patients are uncomfortable with fasting, patients can discuss with their surgeons and adjustments can be made as long as they fast prior to their surgery.

Share this article: